The Supreme Court on Tuesday, October 13, issued a notice in connection with a PIL demanding stringent action against social media users who indulge in the online trade of obscene content. The apex court sought the Centre's response on the petition filed by law students Skand Bajpai and Abhyudaya Mishra vouching for age-based control on access to social media.

After a brief hearing in the matter, a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian agreed to examine the plea filed. "Permission to appear and argue in person is granted. Issue notice," the top court said.

PIL for action against online users involved dealing with explicit content

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The petition which was filed by the students from Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Pune, in August, suggested the development of profile verification to remove unlawful content from different social media platforms.

Furthermore, it sought action against social media accounts responsible for trading rape videos and promoting obscene content. The plea also sought a framework for the removal of illicit content and keeping an effective watch that such content is not uploaded in the future.

Citing the menace of revenge porn, the petition urged the top court to enact gender-neutral laws, and also criminalize impersonation. It also detailed how fake accounts serve as a platform for impersonation and requested a direction for effective guidelines for verifying social media accounts and including online safety in the education system.

The petitioners cited that they had sent a complaint to the central government in June this year, but the lack of satisfactory response prompted them to move the Supreme Court. As a result, the top court has now sought a response from the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as well as from the Union Ministry of Law and Justice beside others.